Dr. Keith Ablow, a psychiatrist and member of Fox News’ “Medical A-Team,” wrote in a Friday op-ed column that Ben Carson is "right" and the Anti-Defamation League -- an anti-Semitism watchdog that called Carson’s claims “historically inaccurate” -- is "wrong."
Ablow does not dispute the fact -- pointed out by the ADL -- that the guns potentially available to European Jews during the Holocaust, even if they could legally own them, would not have been enough to overtake the Nazis. He instead argues that fiercer Jewish resistance to the Nazis, while futile in itself, would have preserved in Jews a more courageous “mindset.”
“The mindset that Jews surrendered with their guns is far more important than the hardware they turned over: They surrendered the demonstrated intention, at all costs, to resist being deprived of liberty,” he wrote. “If Jews in Germany had more actively resisted the Nazi party or the Nazi regime and had diagnosed it as a malignant and deadly cancer from the start, there would, indeed, have been a chance for the people of that country and the world to be moved to action by their bold refusal to be enslaved.”
Ablow’s column is filled with caveats. He discloses that he has held a fundraiser for Carson. And he acknowledges that he was “not there” during the Holocaust and “hindsight is 20/20.”
But because he was “born a Jew,” studied the Holocaust and has spoken in front of the Anti-Defamation League, he deems himself qualified to weigh in on the matter.
“It was a bad idea for any Jew to have turned over a gun,” Ablow continued. “It was a bad idea for any Jew to have boarded a train. It was a bad idea for any Jew to have passed through a gate into a camp. It was a bad idea for any Jew to do any work at any such camp. It was a bad idea for any Jew to not attempt to crush the skull or scratch out the eyes of any Nazi who turned his back for one moment.”
Ablow concludes by reaffirming that the Jewish experience during the Holocaust should serve as a warning that present-day gun control efforts -- which he calls “a government that insists its citizens disarm” -- presage “an epidemic of enslavement of one kind or another.”
In reality, many Jews and other groups targeted by the Holocaust resisted Nazi brutality. It took the Nazis a month to completely subdue Jewish fighters during the 1943 Warsaw Ghetto uprising. They then leveled the ghetto, killing its inhabitants or deporting them to death camps.
Thousands of Jews were also active members of national underground movements to resist Nazi rule in Poland, France, Italy, Yugoslavia, Greece and Slovakia.
Even assuming European Jewish communities had been capable of mounting a greater defense against the Nazis as they were being ghettoized and taken in cattle cars to death camps, it is not at all clear that would have “moved” the world to come to their rescue.
In some countries, local inhabitants were enthusiastic participants in the systematic murder of Jews.
Others, like the United States, were merely unwilling to do much about it. The U.S. government refused a request by American Jewish leaders in 1944 to bomb the train tracks into Auschwitz, considering it a distraction from its main war objective of defeating the Nazis.
The U.S. also did not open its borders to Jewish refugees, famously turning away the St. Louis, a ship with hundreds of mostly German Jews seeking entry in 1939.
(For a detailed explanation of why gun control did not enable the Holocaust, read this excellent piece by HuffPost's Nick Baumann.)
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